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What are my nine biggest problems with hotels?

July 18, 2022, No comments

I love staying in hotels, which is just as well given my job. But for every wonderful night in a great place, there’s one spoilt by rules or mismanagement, or both. I’m not talking about service (let’s not go there this time), I’m talking about problems with the hotel itself. Problems that should not happen and could be fixed. Here are my all-time favourites:

Taxes: why do hotels pretend that the rate doesn’t include tax? It’s lying, as we have no choice but to pay the whole amount. In Switzerland, the worst culprit is the tourist tax (or Kurtax or city tax). That’s per person per night but never included in the rate. Just be honest!

Minibars: someone, somewhere must be able to invent a minibar fridge that doesn’t hum loudly all night then shudder at irregular intervals. I recently stayed in a mega-expensive hotel and the minibar was so loud I unplugged it (as I often do in hotel rooms).

Windows: I hate rooms with windows that don’t open, so that I’m hermetically sealed in, with maybe one air vent for relief. I blame the architect, as even many modern high-rise hotels have windows that can open safely. Much worse: a room with no windows at all, and, yes, they exist.

Wifi: amazingly there are still hotels that charge for wifi, or make it free only in reception. In the USA, it’s often hidden in a ‘resort fee’, even when there is no resort to speak of. Almost as irritating is wifi that’s so patchy, you can’t access your emails let alone have a Zoom call.

Showers: if you need a degree in physics to use the shower, then it’s the wrong one for a hotel – especially for those of us who wear glasses so can’t see the controls once in the shower! Not forgetting when there’s a millimetre’s difference between ice cold and burning hot water.

Sheets: I’m not expecting 300 thread count Egyptian cotton sheets (though they’re great when you get them) but I do expect the sheet to be long enough to tuck in at both ends. Why use sheets that end at the upper edge of the mattress? They never survive the night like that.

Plugs: there are almost never enough or they’re in the wrong places. So often I’m scrambling behind the desk to find a second socket because I have more the one thing to plug in. Thank goodness modern rooms usually now have USB sockets for charging mobile phones.

Lights: speaking of things electrical, lights are also often in the wrong place, or not bright enough for reading. But my pet hate is controls that are too complicated. I recently stayed in a London hotel where the bedside light controls were straight out of Star Trek.

Check in: a few weeks ago I arrived at hotel around twelve minutes before the stated time and was made to wait until exactly 4pm before I could check in. I’m sure the room was ready but rules are rules, even when the check-in time is so late it’s almost inconvenient.

That’s my list but I’m sure there are others you can add. Post-pandemic and with competition from Airbnb, hotels need to up their game if they are to survive and thrive. I hope they do because a good hotel makes all the difference to travelling. It’s not even a matter of price, it’s all about putting the customer first and attention to detail.

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